Cleveland Browns safety T. J. Ward signs an autograph for a fan as he leaves the team's headquarters on the first day of NFL football training camp in Berea, Ohio, Friday, July 29, 2011. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Browns strong safety T.J. Ward met with a couple of reporters tonight before he signed autographs during the Cleveland Auto Show at the International Exposition Center. Here are some of the highlights from the question-and-answer session:
How’s the offseason going?: "It’s been good. Just kind of got back into training. I’m healthy, 100 percent, and just looking forward to the offseason conditioning, getting back with the team and after that, the season."
You missed the final eight games of last season with a sprained right foot. Is it 100 percent?: "Yeah."
Did you need surgery?: “No, just time is all I needed, time and a little rest, some good treatment and it was 100 percent."
Are you relieved you did not need surgery?: "Definitely. Anytime you can avoid surgery, it’s definitely blessing. I’ve had enough surgeries in my career."
You tried to come back toward the end of the season by practicing one day shortly before the Browns played the Arizona Cardinals. How disappointing was it for your comeback attempt to fall short?: "I thought it was feeling good, and it’s a whole other thing when you’re rehabbing and you’re running on it and you know certain things are hurting. But when you get out on the field and you’re reacting to things that you wouldn’t normally do, it makes you really test it and see if it’s ready. It wasn’t. I just had to get out there and see."
Have you met new defensive backs coach Tim Hauck?: "I met him briefly. He seems like a good guy, and I’ve heard some good things about him. But I’m just excited to get in the room with him and see what he has for us."
Will you miss Jerome Henderson, who left his job as the Browns' defensive backs coach to fill the same role with the Dallas Cowboys?: "Yeah, I’m sad to see him go. But he had to do what’s best for him and his family. He was a great coach, and I enjoyed the time we spent with him and his knowledge that he shed upon us. I talked to (Henderson) last week (when) he was a the combine. It’s part of the business."
What are your impressions of Louisiana State cornerback Morris Claiborne?: "I watched a couple games he played. Great athlete, great player, don’t know other than that too much about him. I know I’ve seen him make some really good plays."
Would he be a good addition to the secondary if the Browns decided to draft him?: "If they did, only time would tell. It’s not college, so when you get to the league, it’s a whole other ball game, but I’m sure he can transition. As well as he did in college, I’m sure he can transition."
Free safety Mike Adams is scheduled to become a free agent at 4 p.m. March 13. Do you have any idea whether he would like to re-sign with the Browns?: “I haven’t talked to Mike. When I talked to him earlier in the year, he talked about wanting to be back, and I’m sure that’s the same way he feels. I know I’d love to have him back. He’s a great teammate and a great player. So I think he’d love to come back."
Do you feel the same way about cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who's also set to become an unrestricted free agent in less than two weeks?: "Mmm hmm. I think our defensive backfield, last year we had some injuries, a lot of guys rotating, coming in, playing different positions, but as a whole, I think we have a great nucleus there. Anytime you can keep that cohesion and stay together, the better you can become as a group. But it is a business and people gotta do what’s best for them and their families."
What do you think about middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson recently signing a five-year contract extension?: "I was really happy for him. DQ, he’s a great player, such a great person and he’s so passionate about the game. To see him go through the two tough years where he missed an entire season and then have the year he had last year and get a payday, it was great to see."